On the day the Supreme Court rules on the Marcos Burial, a series of synchronized fake bomb threats are sent out.
While headlines about November 8, 2016, will focus on the historic decision by the Supreme Court to allow former president and dictatorial strongman Ferdinand Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, a string of minor events has been abound: a series of bomb threats has been causing minor disturbances in government offices all over the country, prompting officials to go on alert and forcing office heads to prematurely suspend the work day.
Threats, sent through email , or circulated through short messaging service and amplified by social media, were reported by at least the following institutions:
- Department of Labor and Employment, in Manila
- Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in Quezon City and La Union
- Department of Agriculture, in Quezon City
- National Economic and Development Authority, in Pasig
- Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), in Quezon City, Calabarzon, Cordillera Administrative Region, and the Zamboanga Peninsula
- Rizal Park and Ibalon Central School, in Albay
- Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office, in San Fernando, La Union
Director Rico Salazar of the DENR disclosed to the media that the department received an email at around 1:35 p.m. that warned of four envelope-sized bombs hidden in a steel cabinet in the 2nd floor of the DENR central office. Salazar said the message was sent to at least 283 other email addresses.
DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno said that the threats reached his department’s different offices at around the same time. The secretary speculated that they are related to the aforementioned decision by the Supreme Court, which was reported to the media at around 1 p.m. and formally announced at around 2 p.m.
Bomb threats are more often than not just empty threats from individuals ranging from political extortionists to mere pranksters.
Nevertheless, they must never be ignored or taken lightly. Any threat must immediately be reported to the authorities.
If the threat comes from an email or a parcel such as a letter, it must be given to the police for examination.
If the threat comes in by phone, the person who receives the call must try to extract as much information from the caller as possible, to be given to authorities immediately after. Find out as many details about where the bomb is, and when it will explode. Take in clues about the caller’s identity and location by listening to their voice and to the background noise.
And even if you suspect that a threat called in right before an important exam was just from a student trying to disrupt classes, take it seriously, and remember that making even empty bomb threats is punishable by law.